After a blowout win against the Knicks, Kyrie Irving, surrounded by the media, proclaimed that the Celtics should have fun kicking people’s (butts). Fast-forward to Saturday night, and the message seemed to resonate with his teammates.
The Bulls were the latest target, falling victim to a 56 point-beatdown in one of the most thorough wire-to-wire performances of the season. Even up 30, the team was flying around on the defensive end, swinging the ball on offense and in a game that honestly felt decided by halftime, they turned up the heat in the second half and may have just guaranteed the Bulls some extra suicides at their next practice.
Beyond the good vibes and downright giddy atmosphere that exists after a blowout of that nature, Daniel Theis stood out from the rest of the pack. Before we get into the video, let’s just take a minute to truly respect this stat line: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, a block, and finished the game a +50(!!!) in 32 minutes of action.
This is an amazing line for a guy who is not regularly in the rotation, but as we know, there’s a lot of guys on this Celtics team that could be rotation players or starters in multiple spots across the league.
Offensively, Theis did a great job making quick reads and he really enjoyed the Bulls drop coverage that allowed him the opportunity to have space to launch from range.
And by the time Lopez decided to get out and contest, Theis used his speed and made him pay:
The Celtics were also able to get Theis some easy looks using the gravity of their scorers:
If this looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same Kyrie back screen play that the team attacked the Knicks with to open up a wide open alley-oop for Horford.
Play looks like it’s for Kyrie coming off pin down but he’s actually a decoy setting backscreen for Al while Al is throwing Kanter off set by faking a screen to Gordon... whew pic.twitter.com/w1MGrBXCqi— ⚖️ (@Kungu_NBA) December 7, 2018
Despite the quality of looks, Theis continued to swing the ball and make the right plays for teammates, finding Brown in the post, and creating a couple three-pointers for Irving and Semi by being alert and active with the ball.
Defensively, Theis did a great job playing strong positional coverage. The Celtics had a ridiculous 60(!) defensive rating with him on the court which, besides for speaking to how bad of a basketball team the Bulls are, highlighted his defensive presence on a night where the team didn’t have another real option that could defend the interior like him.
Overall, Theis picked the perfect game to have a career night and his vintage Al Horford impression was key in setting the tone early. This isn’t a matchup that the team can really take much from considering they were playing a bad team that was on the second game of a back-to-back, but it was the type of performance we all expect from a team with championship aspirations.
We’ll see if they can keep up the strong play on Monday when they take on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, the team that ignited the winning streak to begin with.